Hero Firefighters Perform Incredible Rescue, Rappelling Down NYC High-Rise Apartment

In a daring rescue, New York City Firefighters saved two women’s lives by rappelling down the side of a burning building.

The flames in a midtown Manhattan high-rise apartment building had a resident literally hanging by her fingertips from the windowsill, when a team of firefighters rappelled down in time to rescue her and are now being honored for their heroism.

Called a roof rope rescue, it involved four firefighters; Belvon Koranteng, who was the first firefighter on the rope, and Arthur Podgorski, who plucked the hanging victim and brought her through the window of the floor below.

The two were hooked up to ropes anchored in the apartment above. Their colleagues in the rescue included Darren Harsch, and Adam Nordenschild.

“There’s just nothing but smoke, and then the firefighters appear, and once they were there, they got a handle on it really fast,” Midtown East resident Daniel Schwartz told CBS News.

“Just phenomenal, I mean, to see that.”

Many of the residents reported not hearing any smoke alarms when a lithium-ion battery caused a fire in the building on East 52nd Street. However they were told to stay in their rooms until fire and rescue arrived and it was safe to evacuate, since they lived in fire-proof apartments.

A neighbor, Amy Bernstein, said she and others watched the rappel happen in real time, and that she wept when she saw they had succeeded.

“I can’t say enough about the firefighters of New York,” said Bernstein. “They were… the job they did was just amazing. You could see their focus. You could see their safety first, they were going to save this person.”

Firefighter Podgorski spoke for his team at a news conference, explaining how it was a team effort, from his own task of hoisting the woman from the window, to the comrade who secured the ropes in the apartment.

Very much by default, firefighters are heroes—and the FDNY is certainly exceptional.